Three California women are being hailed as heroes for preventing a possible date rape last week.
It all began while Sonia Ulrich and her friends Monica Kenyon and Marla Saltzer were enjoying a happy hour at Santa Monica restaurant FIG. In a Facebook post about the incident, Ulrich writes that they saw a young man at another table slip something out of a black vial and into his date's wine glass without her noticing. When his date went to the bathroom, Ulrich says she followed her to warn her that he had put something in her drink.
The woman was shocked to hear that her date — who she considered to be one of her best friends — could do such a thing.
According to Ulrich, Saltzer informed the restaurant's staff about the incident, who in turn reviewed security camera footage and called the Santa Monica Police. According to The Huffington Post, the man was then arrested on charges of intent to commit rape and drugging with the intent to commit rape.
Police lieutenant Saul Rodriguez told the publication that the three women had prevented a "serious crime from taking place" by coming forward.
According to Ulrich, patrons at the restaurant thanked the trio for speaking up when they saw that something was wrong.
"That was the really amazing thing — how many people sincerely thanked us because they had a personal experience with this type of thing," Ulrich told local news station KABC.
Drink spiking isn't uncommon. One smaller study found that 7.8 percent of American college students had their drinks drugged. There are warning signs of spiking that people can look out for, such as cloudiness or a strange smell. But, as the White House has underscored over the past year, and as the three friends in the restaurant demonstrated, it's on all of us to stop sexual assault. Bystanders can do a great deal of good when they speak up after noticing spiked drinks or other dangers.
Social media campaigns like #WhoWillYouHelp and the Step Up! program speak to the importance of intervening to help potential victims of sexual assault. The Rape, Abuse And Incest National Network recommends that the best way for a bystander to prevent sexual assault is by following the CARE plan: create a distraction, ask directly, refer to an authority and enlist others.
A Plus reached out to Ulrich for a comment.